THE FINE PRINT: First things first, I am interested in the origin story of the Gaijin Collective. Who are your members and how did you first come together socially and artistically?
GAIJIN COLLECTIVE: I originally started Gaijin Collective as a creative outlet for me and an associate I made in my first year of college. Unfortunately, that associate stopped making artwork, so I just took it over from there. That’s when Gaijin Collective actually started lifting off the ground. One organic being with his artistic alter ego, Gaijin.
TFP: Your video works seem to be referencing a specific time in anime and video game culture that are particularly familiar to me as a child of the 90’s: Things like Playstation I, Spider Man and Tekken Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z and the Powerpuff Girls. Is there a deliberate attraction amongst your group to dated media?
GC: We never specifically aim to a specific time in media, I guess it just turns out that way. I get randomly inspired and I just jot down an idea, eventually coming back to execute it in an artwork or video. Guess you could say I mix my mindstate now with some of the media I loved as a kid. It seems to be coming out nicely.
TFP: I get a sense of nostalgia in your video remixes, as though they come from a vortex of aged graphics and iconography that will be very recognizable to some and completely ‘gaijin’ to others. It reminds me of so many friendships evolved on hours of virtual game play. Is the content of your video collages something that you yourselves have connected over?
GC: Somewhat. I usually have a close circle of people who I do limited releases to in order to gauge their perception of whatever it is I made. They provide feedback and conversation that eventually spawns another idea. And the cycle continues.
TFP: As a group, what are some of the major themes you have set out to explore?
GC: No. Not on purpose at least. I let viewers perceive the presentations how they want to. All that matters is that I know what my perception was when the art was made and I want others to have their perception unaltered by what I think. Not sure if that makes sense the way I said it but you get the gist.
TFP: As mentioned before, the content being sourced seems to be coming from at least a decade ago, but what about the digital techniques Gaijin uses to create its projects?
GC: Gaijin likes to switch up and learn new styles, doesn’t like to dwell on a single aesthetic for too long. It all started with making collages from a bunch of old magazines and manga, then it has just evolved to digital over time. Pixel art, retro, surrealism, ove etc. I find it provides an everlasting freshness to the brand.
TFP: I am curious of the creative structure of your collective? For example, does everyone take on a specific task, or is everyone contributing more personally directed projects to a shared portfolio? And how does whatever structure is in place change the direction of Gaijin’s creative content?
GC: Gaijin powers it, random ideas thrown in from the associates from time to time, it’s all just spontaneous.
Text by JERA MACPHERSON